Othello Station, named for the light rail stop at the corner, will consist of a 471,000-sq-ft building with 351 market-rate residential units, 11 retail spaces on the ground floor and 335 parking stalls below grade.

Work on the structure started in September and should be completed in June 2011 with a phased occupancy. The building owner, Othello Partners, is expecting a LEED silver or gold certification.

The wood-frame building relies on a new framing technique designed by Matt Stodola, a quality control manager and superintendent with Exxel Pacific Inc., Bellingham. The system, designed with DCI Engineers, Bellevue, is expected to diminish the cracks in the drywall on nonload-bearing interior walls that typically occur in a normal wood-framed building.

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The contractor, whose specialty is wood-framed structures, also “had a lot of door issues and other problems that would come up at the one-year builders warranty inspection,” Stodola says.

The system works by top-plating all the bearing walls with standard 1.5-in. dimensional lumber and reducing the interior nonbearing-wall top plates by 0.75 in. The air space between the joist and nonbearing walls reduces noise transfer.

Some of weight of the building is evened out using a deflector on the nonload-bearing walls. The deflector consists of a long screw with a plastic sleeve that can move up and down as the building shifts. The sleeve keeps the wall from shifting, eliminating cracks and door problems.

Cost of the deflectors, about $30 for 25, is easily covered by the reduced amount of lumber and faster framing time, Stodola says. “Othello Station is the first place we used this and the framing went in five times faster,” he adds.